Review Price £288.00
Wacom Intuos 5 – Hands On: Pen and Touch
Styli are making a comeback. With products like the Samsung Galaxy Note mobile phone and the brand-new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, more and more devices are re-incorporating pressure-sensitive ‘pens’ to write, sketch and draw with. But while these Wacom-enabled devices and Windows slates like the Series 7 Slate or convertible Lenovo ThinkPad X220t are nice to draw on, digital artists and keen designers still use dedicated graphics tablets. For professionals, there is still only one brand and product that they will consider: the Wacom Intuos. Until recently, that meant the Intuos 4, but now Wacom has a new stud in its stable: the Intuos 5.
The previous model was awarded a perfect 10/10 score when we reviewed it, so can its successor offer a compelling reason to upgrade? Well, anyone who is perfectly happy with their Intuos 4 doesn’t actually need to, especially since the 5 uses the same pen technology. However, there are still plenty of improvements which make this new generation a significantly better, more versatile tablet, and should win it plenty of new fans.
The decision to stick with the same pen technology (and in fact the same pens, nibs and pen-holder) is, in many ways, a good thing. First of all, it means that all those who have invested significantly in the Intuos 4 ecosystem will be able to use all their existing pens and tools. With Wacom’s Art Pen, (for example) setting you back over £80, that’s no small consideration. For another, it means the new range sports a reliable, proven system, which Wacom will have had plenty of experience with.
Then there’s the argument that there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken. With 2048 pressure levels, 60 degrees of tilt sensitivity and a nib that registers a single gram of pressure, the Intuos 4 was arguably already as good as it needed to be in that department. Wacom also claims the surface issue that some experienced with the Intuos 4 is definitely fixed, an essential factor as you can no longer replace surface sheets – but that’s for good reason.
You see, one of the biggest new additions to the Intuos line is Touch. Far more advanced than what was already on Wacom’s Bamboo Touch models, you now have a whopping 16 simultaneous touch points – great for collaborative projects or two player touch gaming – and advanced gesture control.
Even if the application or OS doesn’t support it, you can use Wacom’s revamped driver to set a completely programmable action or set of actions for each gesture. For example, you can set a five-finger upward swipe to undo your last action in Photoshop. This worked flawlessly in our hands-on, easily on a level with our experience with Apple’s touchpads. You can also use pinch to zoom and then continue working on your drawing, and there won’t be any mistakes as your fingers don’t work if the pen is near the tablet’s surface.
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